One Elf's Dissatisfaction
It's been a while since I posted a short story, and this one's been lying around for a few weeks, so I thought I might as well. Read your hearts out!
Genre ~ Humorous Fantasy
One Elf’s Dissatisfaction
An elf, a dwarf, and a man were about to enter a dungeon. It was a big, scary dungeon, the high-end type with spiders, cobwebs, and monsters that’d rip your arm off as soon as look at you. The man drew his sword and advanced grimly towards the cavernous gate. The dwarf hefted his ax and followed suit. The elf walked behind them, arrow on his bowstring. Their faces were set grimly as they marched towards their fates.
The man and the dwarf were just at the large, imposing stone gate (artistically embedded with human, dwarf, and elf skulls), when a dreadful scream sounded behind them! They turned with dramatic flourishes, preparing to disarm their foes (literally)! But there wasn’t anyone there, save the elf. He screamed again, then tossed his bow on the ground and began to jump up and down on it.
“What be it, Terafor?” the dwarf questioned gruffly. “Hast some foul spirit from the dungeon taken ahold of thee?”
The elf stopped his screaming and jumping to fix a withering stare on his ax-wielding companion. “No.”
“That’s what they all say,” the man pointed out. “If you were possessed by an evil spirit, you wouldn’t just go and tell us, would you? We’d have to kill you to stop its dreadful rampage.”
“Aye!” the dwarf agreed. “He probably be lyin‘. We’d better kill ‘im.”
“There’s no evil spirit!” the elf protested as the dwarf advanced on him, ax rising. “You know how evil spirits can’t ever tell the truth? Well, I’m telling you I don’t have an evil spirit, and that’s the truth. Thus, I can’t be possessed by the gosh-darned thing, see?”
The man scratched his head. “Well, I guess we can’t argue with that.”
The dwarf lowered his ax with a disappointed expression on his face. “Guess not. But if it ain’t a foul spirit, what hornet’s in your trousers, elf?”
“An overdose of inane repetition!” the elf fired back, his voice borderline hysterical. “Just listen to that “author” up there! “An elf, a dwarf, and a man were about to enter a dungeon!” It’s enough to make you hurl! How many trillion times has that been the beginning of some lousy “adventure“? I’m sick of it! We’re always about to enter a dungeon! Like that bloody chicken that keeps crossing the road! What’s his problem you wonder when you see him waddling over the asphalt, but then you look at us and you’ve gotta think, “hey, we’re not all that much different from him”, and then it all starts getting clear and suddenly you realize…”
“Terafor,” the man hissed. “You’re ranting! This is not the time! This story is being broadcast live to the Web Magazine! You’re going to upset the nice readers.”
The elf straightened up from his theatrical pose of long suffering sorrow, and grinned a large, unpleasant grin. “Live? Really?”He cleared his throat and straightened his tunic. “Hi, all you people out there! Welcome to the character strike! We’re not leaving this story until our demands are met, and we hope you’ll stay with us the whole way!” He started singing his favorite Rolling Bones song. “Ah cain’t git no..sa-tis-fac-tion…”
“Look, Terafor--” the elf cut the man off sharply.
“It’s William, for crying out loud. I don’t care what name they slap on me for all these darned dungeon and dragon stories, I was born, and directly after that blessed event my mother named this elf “William”. So call me William, Will, Willy, Bill, Billy, or any other variations on William, but for the love of all that is unholy, don’t call me Terafor!” He began singing "Twisted Blister". "We're not gonna take it...
The dwarf hurled his ax aside, unwittingly decapitating a small, cute woodland creature that had erroneously been placed in the grim, barren scene, and puffed his chest out. “Aye, no more silly names for me either! I’m Buggleduff!”
The elf shook the dwarf’s hand. “Welcome to the cause, Buggleduff!”
The man put his sword carefully back into its sheath. “OK, maybe I’ll come along for the ride. What are you planning? By the way, I‘m Bob.”
William rolled his eyes. “Well, Bob, it’s not as if our every thought isn’t being written for us. That bloody hack writer up there will know everything! We’ll just have to make it up as we go along, before he gets a chance to figure out what we’re doing.” First, William thought, I’ll demand an end to these plot clichés. Then I’ll make him write Mary-Anne into the mix, and give me a kissing scene with her under a sunset by a seashore. Wooo! That elf is one hot…
“Whoa, whoa!” William shook his fist at the sky. “Stop that!”
Bob ventured to raise his hand. “Uh, excuse me, Mr. Author sir, I have a request.”
William slapped the man’s hand down. “Stop being polite! He doesn’t deserve it!”
Bob tried to look more commanding. “Anyway, uh, you can write anything you want, so how about writing me a…”
A cold beer appeared in Bob’s hand. Wow! he thought. This author guy isn’t so bad after all!
William glared at the sky again. “I said, stop that!” The elf started pacing. “Now, for a few demands. First, quit with the dungeons. You think we enjoy creeping into dungeons and slaying monsters for no particular reason? And then there’s the ever-imminent risk of injury. Some of those monsters are darned mean, and somebody could get hurt! So no more dragons, and no more Balrogs, no matter if we’re in a dungeon or not.”
Some muttering rumbled from the sky, and the sound of the backspace key clacking was distinctly discerned by the trio. “Better,” the elf said, “But we’re not finished.” He held up a few fingers and began ticking them off as he spoke.
“Be creative. No more clichéd plots, no more objects that must be destroyed to save the world. You readers out there, you think you’re bored by all that Lord of the Rings ripoff junk, try living it sometime! Next, we want some vacation time. Six weeks a year, with pay! In the locale of our choice, you hear me, writer-boy? No more silly names either. No “Barran the Slayer“, “Fenfiltihowzit the Mighty”, or “The Bloody Big Baboon Barbarian of Botswana”. We want regular names, with nothing after them! A big part of this bargain is also your darn business with the magic, and all those villains who wield the dark side of it. Now, we’d prefer you don’t do away with it altogether. It does do a lot to spice up those long, boring duels, and decreases the risk of injury, but I’m bored to tears with what you’ve got us doing. Fireballs, streams of acid, lines of living, pulsing energy! Oooohhhh…so dramatic and vivid it makes me sick! I can do that stuff in my sleep! Watch this!”
William shot a few fireballs and a few lines of living, pulsing energy into the sky. A yelping sound came back, followed by a booming, godlike voice from the sky complaining, If that fried my keyboard, I’m docking you for it!
"I hope that hurt!“ William crowed. “Anyway, as I was saying, give your characters something fun! And make those enemies something other than the dark side of some terrible, prophesied power! Good grief, is there no creativity left in the world?”
The clouds overhead darkened, and the mutterings from above got louder. The backspace key was unheard. Lightning crackled. William stuck out his tongue. “You’re bluffing. You can’t kill your characters, it’d take you forever to cast new ones. Now, agree!”
Suddenly, three images materialized in the air. There was an elf, a dwarf and a man. Underneath was the caption, “Desperate, unemployed characters. Will work for much less than you.”
The thunder above suddenly took on the sound of chuckling. Uh-oh, William thought. Caught between a rock and a hard place n…
“Hey! I‘ll do my own thinking!” William shouted. “All right, all right, you can do what you want with our names, and you can make the villains “dark side”. That good enough?”
The thunder decreased a little bit, but several forks of lightning split a nearby tree in half, showering the group with burning embers that took a long time to go out. “Four vacation weeks with pay?”
Some sun peeped through the clouds, and they turned from dark, menacing grey to a light half-grey colour. Mysteriously, rain began to fall on only William, and it followed him wherever he moved. “Is that a bargain, then?” he asked sulkily. A distinctly affirmative rumble came through the clouds. William reached his hands out of the rain and into a dry spot, holding a pen and paper. He scribbled some things down on the paper, and added a line underneath. “Can I have your signature on that?”
Another rumble, and the elf, demonstrating exquisite timing, whisked away the contract, revealing another sheet of paper he was holding right behind it. The author’s signature missed the first sheet of paper and slammed into the second one. The rumbling got louder, and the clouds darkened again. William waved the parchment triumphantly, taking care to keep it out of his personal rain cloud. “Now, now. This contract says you agree to everything we’ve discussed, and our vacation in the Caribbean begins right now. Start writing!”
Suddenly, three new characters appeared out of nowhere, an elf, a dwarf, and a man, each one beside their respective counterpart. William realized what was going on, and yelled, “Grab your replacement and pull him on top of you!”
Bob and Buggleduff obeyed instantly. Three forks of lightning stopped a hair away from the startled faces of their replacements. William realized with dismay that he’d forgotten to put a clause into the contract that said the author couldn’t kill them. He hastily scribbled that in. The godlike voice came from the heavens. Hey! You can’t do that!
William pointed to the second paragraph. “This contract says I can. Now quit trying to off us, or I’ll have the union on you!”
William’s rain cloud got hail added to it, big chunks the size of golf balls, but no more forks of lightning. “Take us to the Caribbean, you illiterate weasel!”
Suddenly, the dark and stormy plain was gone, replaced with a beach, aquamarine waves, and a warm breeze. William lounged back in his beach chair. “Ah…that’s good.”
Bob and Buggleduff were playing shuffleboard a little way down the beach, and the replacement characters were gone. Suddenly, a hideous, tentacled sea monster rose from the deeps, and started towards the beach! William snapped his fingers. “Remember the contract, Mr. Author! No monster slaying while on vacation.” The monster kept coming. “No monsters slaying us, either.” The beast disappeared.
William noted that Bob and Buggleduff were downing mugs of beer. “Write me a Pina Colada, pronto. And you can read my thoughts just once.” Mary-Anne in a string…
The elf shook a warning finger. “Read them. Don’t write them.”
The godlike voice, sounding distinctly less omnipotent now, muttered, “I had to try.” There were some typing sounds, and a little cursing as the author made a typo and temporarily transferred the three characters to the North Pole. William held up the contract, hands shaking with the cold. The backspace key erased the typo and they were back in the Caribbean, William lying on his deck chair again.
Another deck chair appeared, touching his, and the arms on the chairs vanished. On the other chair was a cute, bikini-clad female elf. She handed him a pina colada and smiled. William raised his glass to the sky. “Here’s to you, you oh-so-obliging author.” He took a drink. “And here’s to one damned clever, handsome, talented, all-around terrific elf.”
The skies boomed. Does that mean I need to write a new character?
William rolled his eyes. “I’ll provide the witticisms around here, thank you very much.”
Wrong. I’m the writer, I’m the one who gives you those witty lines.
“Shut up. You’re ruining my employee satisfaction.”
There’s no employee satisfaction clause on the document. I can heckle you as much as I want, you pointy-eared, prancing, nancing excuse for a half-witted elfling.
William tried to write in something about employee satisfaction, but there wasn’t any room left on the agreement. “Great. Now I’m a dissatisfied employee. You’ll hear from the union.” He brightened. “You can’t keep typing forever, anyway. You’ll run out of taunts soon.”
The voice was silent for a bit. Then, Blast. I can’t think of any more. It must be lack of sleep. Can I go to bed soon?
William checked his watch. “Looks like we’re out of time for the broadcast anyway. Thanks to all who joined us in the character strike! Bye, now!”
“Bye!” Bob and Buggleduff chorused, having finished their game of shuffleboard. The next thing the readers read was, predictably…
THE END (...of the broadcast. The characters made the harried writer stay up day and night to meet their ridiculous demands. The author offers a bit of friendly advice: Treat your characters nicely, and they’ll be nice to you. Otherwise something like this might happen, and I’ll -I mean, the author- can tell you that character strikes are far from pleasant. Now he is going to bed, where he will, in all likelihood, dream about his characters kidnapping him. That would be just his luck. He’s going to need months of therapy after this. Good night. Drive safely.)
"Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato
Last edited by Winterbite; 07-18-2008 at 06:48 PM..